AUBURN, AL (WBRC) - It was Monday night when Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn issued a statement saying that senior receiver Duke Williams had been dismissed from the team.
On Tuesday evening, Malzahn spoke at length about the reasons for the dismissal and how his players have reacted. Williams, suspended for last season's' Outback Bowl and again in August, was officially dismissed from the team after being involved in a reported altercation on Saturday night.
"I'm not going to get into that. That is between us, and he's dismissed from the team," Malzahn said when asked about the nature of William's transgressions.
Malzahn went further in talking about the situation itself.
"Anytime you have to make a tough call and dismiss a player it's not easy, but at the same time, this is a team sport and you're always going to think about the team first, and give people the opportunity to prove themselves," Malzahn said.
"It's not easy and it shouldn't be easy for a coach, but you have to what is best for the team," he continued.
Malzahn says he has seen Williams grow as aa person during his time with the Tigers. He thinks Auburn was good for him and wishes him nothing but the best in the future.
How have the Auburn players reacted to the news?
"We have a really close team, and they responded well to practice today. This is a team, and it's a strong team. We have good leaders, and there was great energy at practice. I feel we got better," Malzahn said.
When asked about the process of releasing the senior receiver, Malzahn said he feels good about the process that led us up to this point.
"The biggest thing is you're disappointed when you have to get rid of a player. You hoped that things would be different and you hoped that he would have responded differently, but I feel fine about the process, I'm just disappointed that it didn't work out," Malzahn explained.
Asked about the reaction from Duke Williams upon hearing the news, Malzahn said, "Not much."
So the Auburn offense moves on without a receiver who hauled in nearly 50 catches last season and gained over 700 yards.
This season, Williams has been held to 147 receiving yards through the first five games of the season, thus giving the Tiger's 29.3 yards of offense per game.
What's the head coach going to do now? He'll give others an opportunity.
"You've got Ricardo Louis, you've got Melvin Ray, you've got Tony Stevens, you've got guys we feel really good about. It also opens up some opportunities for some young guys," Malzahn said.
Will Williams, Jeremy Johnson's roommate at Auburn remain in school? Coach Malzahn indicates the answer to that question is "no." And what does the future hold for the Tigers?
"This is a team game and a team sport. We feel good about moving forward," Malzahn said.